Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Disagreement and Distrust

This is part 2 in a 4-part series. Read part 1 here

As she walked down the sidewalk, I thought, “I hate women who wear combat boots.”

As strange as that sentence may be, this next sentence is even stranger even to me. That thought changed my life. The Lord used that thought to convict me of how my preferences had made me closed to opportunities to share the gospel. I let my dislikes justify hatred of others.

Joshua Harris helped Covenant Life Church more fully understand unity in Christ this last Sunday. His first point of application was this: “Distrust your dislikes.” While I wasn’t necessarily hindering the unity of the church in the previous example, I certainly was arrogantly placing my preferences before the good of others.

If unity in the church is essential for ministry to non-Christians, as I argued in part 1, then we must understand how to handle disagreement between Christians. This is especially true in areas where the Bible isn’t absolutely clear and personal preference is more significantly involved.

Specifically, I want to discuss today how to practically handle disagreements that come up in the church related to technology and media.
  • What happens when you don't like the way someone else mixes the sound?
  • What should you do if you think it's simply too loud?
  • How should you respond when the graphics are, from your perspective, ugly or boring?
  • What do you do about what you don't like?
In a few days, I'll discuss the dangers of doing nothing: bitterness and apathy. But for now, let's agree that you have a role to play. You need to say something or do something. What is the best way to play that role without causing conflict and disunity? What does distrusting your dislikes look like in this case?

Here are some thoughts that may help:
  • Actively remember that you -- like Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15 -- are the greatest sinner you know. Search your heart for any evil intent before approaching a conversation to change something you don't like. Remember that you will tend to like the things that serve you rather than the things that serve others.
  • Get help. Ask others who know you well to help you understand why you want to change this dislike. Your motive matters.
  • Approach any conversation about a dislike with honest questions rather than assumptions. Only assume one thing: that you are the one mistaken or uninformed.
  • Recognize to the person you approach that you are not the expert on everything. Even if you are around to be the "resident expert" in a particular area, you still have room to grow and learn.
  • Submit to leadership. God has given us leaders to help make decisions and move his plans forward. Follow them wholeheartedly, and you'll likely see the wisdom of it in the end.
  • Don't divide. Please don't leave a church simply over media or technology choices that you dislike.
What dislikes are you facing these days? Maybe some real-life examples will bring more clarity to these comments. Send them in to the comments section!
Photo Credit: Zen Sutherland

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for this series... i have recently been struggling with some preferences and wondering what to do with them. officially, i am "in charge" of our small tech team, but it's more of an administrative role than a leadership one. regardless, i am not sure when preferences can or should be passed down as rules.

one specific issue would be whether to center our song lyric text or keep it left-justified. it's a small thing, but i think there are practical reasons that one is better than the other. however, the degree to which i get bothered about it indicates that there may be something more going on in my heart...